NASA does have a starship enterprise, but not a Starship Enterprise.
The collaboration between a Dutch artist and a NASA researcher who works on warp-drive theories and other advanced propulsion concepts has brought forth some flashy and inspiring graphics — but it's also fuzzed the line between science fiction and fact.
For years, Harold "Sonny" White has been delving into the technical details of a concept known as the Alcubierre warp drive as part of his job at NASA's Johnson Space Center. The idea, put forward by Mexican physicist Miguel Alcubierre, suggests that faster-than-light travel might be achieved by distorting spacetime in a clever way.
To illustrate his talks, White has drawn upon computer graphics from Mark Rademaker, an artist in the Netherlands whose work is often featured in calendars and other publications related to the Star Trek saga. Rademaker, in turn, incorporates the ideas from White's work into his graphics.
Over the past couple of years, Rademaker has created a concept craft known as the IXS Enterprise, with a ring-ship design that might come in handy for an Alcubierre warp drive. The artwork was turned in for the Star Trek Ships of the Line 2014 calendar, but Rademaker continued to fine-tune the look.
"I could have walked away, but I wanted this to be really good, so I put in an extra three months of spare time, with the new images as the result," Rademaker told NBC News in an email.http://www.nbcnews.com/science/space/nasas-warp-drive-starship-enterprise-makes-virtual-splash-n128831